Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Yet More Assigned Reading
Reuters story http://today.reuters.com/business/newsArticle.aspx?type=media&storyID=nBOM192054
Press release http://www.pwc.com/extweb/pwcpublications.nsf/docid/5AC172F2C9DED8F5852570210044EEA7?opendocument&vendor=none
Top level findings http://www.pwcglobal.com/extweb/industry.nsf/docid/8CF0A9E084894A5A85256CE8006E19ED?opendocument&vendor=none
This story is from Kilgore, TX, and I thought it was instructive and unintentionally ironic. First, it's a reminder how not everyone seeks the latest greatest technologies and they still make a living. As i read it, I just thought it was funny that a local printing oldtimer finally sold his business to another local, a formal funeral director, which gave me my chuckle. he's going from one dying business to another. At least in the printing business you can get repeat business! It was also interesting that the old owner switched from hot to cold type in 1988..... yeah, 1988.... 10 years after "everyone else" started.... maybe he sold because he didnt want to endure the technology shift to laser printing :)
"Booming magazine industry a boon to Publishers Printing" is the article title that caught my eye. The setup of the article is all wrong, but it's nice to read about a successful, profitable printer. Oh, please give us more stories like this one!
You think running a family printing business is easy? The Vistaprint prospectus is full of all kinds of goodies to raise red flags except for those with the fortitude to not get squeamish with new IPOs. They're making money, except for a payment to a family member for some technology from another business. Reading it made my head hurt. Without that $21 million payment, they would have made about 5.5% profit on sales last year. Revenue grew from $35MM in 2003, $58MM in 2004, and $90MM in fiscal 2005. Sales per employee were $227K, or about twice industry average. It's also strange reading about "spam" as a business risk for a printing business. It's not an investment that I'm comfortable with in my portfolio (the number of successful and thriving companies that I won't touch is a long list... hmmmmm.....), but their targeting small business is certainly something that I've been pointing to as an opportunity that most of our industry misses. Vistaprint is certainly focused on it. I would not be surprised if they did not eventually become an acquisition target of a company like Staples; neither would I be surprised if Staples did not try to clone the Vistaprint business themselves. And if Vistaprint grows out of its old-style marketing into something richer and deeper, it could become a significant and influential business in the history of the industry. Until then, their printing is " free* ".
Important NY Times article about the media mix shifts
WSJ Asia designer explains fusion of print and Internet media http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=30503
St. Louis Post Dispatch article about downsizing in newspapers http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/business/stories.nsf/story/34009D01306DA06B8625708B000BF8BA?OpenDocument
Average newspaper reader is 55... I have 6 years of below average reading, I guess.
The Associated Press has started a new service to attract readers under 35. Rats! I'm 14 years too old to read it!
Here's an old press release from June that is quite good. Mark Kaline, Global Media Manager, Ford Motor Company, and Chair, Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Print Advertising Committee, and Robert Liodice, CEO and president of the ANA, list their 10 "pleas" to the print media business. After you read the 10 items, if you're saying to yourself "publishers aren't doing these already?" then there should be no reason to wonder why print is having problems. And if the publishers aren't doing it, what are the printers supposed to do?